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Archive for the tag “Balochistan”

We the unpatriotic

In the first signs of the “professionalization” of the PR and media management of Congress, Hindustan Times today signaled that it has all but been appointed the official PR mouthpiece of the party. With this, HT wins the race over such worthies like Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express and Vinod Mehta of Outlook, who have both tried very hard in the past ten days to push their candidature.

The first signal that HT was ahead in the race came when it got access to a carefully orchestrated exclusive leaks into the supposed dossier that Pakistan shared with India. How such documents are allowed to pass on to public domain, before being shared with Parliament with no need for anyone to even whisper RTI, beats me.

After all, the headline in today’s print edition: “India fights itself over Balochistan” is as good a piece of spin as any produced by top-notch PR agencies with their soul sold to the highest retainership. The headline attempts the oldest trick of all people of a certain description, to take refuge behind patriotism. Let’s speak with one voice, in foreign policy. Doing anything else is unpatriotic; Pakistanis will find us a house divided.

Says HT: “Unable to quarrel with the philosophy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Pakistan policy of ‘trust but verify’, the Opposition on Thursday focused its criticism on the inclusion of Balochistan in the Indo-Pak joint statement of July 16.” See the words? Opposition has a “quarrel” with the Prime Minister’s “philosophy”.

And, it gets better. The article, written by the “HT political Bureau”, then says: “The government strained to explain its position on Balochistan on a day it found oblique support from US special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who refused to endorse the Pakistani position, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani lauded Singh’s “statesmanship”……” Wah Janaab! So what if our PM is isolated domestically with even the Foreign Secretary conceding the “poor drafting” of the joint-statement? The Prime Minister of Pakistan is lauding his statesmanship. And we are such sticks-in-the mud.

Funnily, you get the feeling as if the entire “political bureau” of the HT sat down and wrote the article; one paragraph per person. In the middle of the article, there are references to the government “straining” to explain its position, a reference to Sushma Swaraj asking “how could a reference to Balochistan advance our national interest?” and Advani’s question on how a unilateral perception of Pakistan get into a joint statement without any mention of India’s position? Maybe there is a BJP mole (or two) in the HT edit team!

It ends with a coverage of Sonia Gandhi’s “carefully worded statement” who “stopped short of defending the (joint) statement“.

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India has nothing to do with Balochistan: Chidambaram

The damage control is in full swing.

It started almost immediately after the proverbial horse had not only bolted but while bolting, had kicked upwards a large volume of horse manure.

The first gem emanated from the Foreign Secretary, no less. He pronounced this a case of “poor drafting”, with the insouicance that only comes from knowing that his own retirement is nigh. Who drafted this, Mr. FS? You, or your newby boss or his boss, MMS? More importantly, which one of your officers will now be sent to Afghanistan or Sudan as a prize?

We have also heard that joint statements are non-binding and have no legal sanctity. So, this is what we have been reduced to? Taking refuge under technicalities?

And now, Chidambaram has been drafted in to help. His legal training will obviously be handy to defend the indefensible. Of course, given the reticence of the usual defenders of the faith (Avishek Singhvi and Manish Tiwari) to speak on this issue, we all await the PM as he gets up in Parliament on 29th July to again wonder aloud what the fuss is all about.

In the meantime, the Pak Foreign office is behaving like the proverbial dog with a juicy bone in its teeth. It just administered a rebuke to the “Twitter Minister” for gratuitously seeking to explain the difference between a “diplomatic paper” and a “legal document”.

Raj Chengappa, writing in India Today, headlines his article: Timid India. And then, spells out Timid with the meaning of the word in all its shades.

Nasty.

And, what is our party of the opposition doing? True to character, BJP contended itself with issuing public statements, staging a walkout and then busying themselves with their internal concerns.
As people of India, we fully deserve our ruling party. Do we also deserve our shambolic opposition?

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